THE HOLY SPIRIT WAS ACTIVE DURING OLD TESTAMENT TIMES, TOO!
A SERMON ORIGINALLY DELIVERED AT THE HIGH HILL UNITED
THE FEDERATED CHURCH OF ATHENS
7 JUNE 1992
By Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor
Pentecost is celebrated in the churches on the 7th Sunday after Easter; and when most Christians think of Pentecost, they remember Acts 2, when the Holy Spirit came upon those who were gathered with Peter.
And because of the way the Holy Spirit's activities have been manifested since that day, we have a tendency to think of Him as being associated only with the church since that time.
But the Holy Spirit was active during Old Testament times, too!
Both David and Isaiah called Him by this specific name.
In David's prayer of repentance, Psalm 51, he relates how important the Holy Spirit is to him and in his life before God, and as a witness to the people with whom he associates.
Note his words in verses 10-13:
10. Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11. Do not cast me away from Thy presence,
And do not take Thy Holy Spirit from me.
12. Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation,
And sustain me with a willing spirit.
13. Then I will teach transgressors Thy ways,
And sinners will be converted to Thee.
When we are truly repentant, and turn away from our former sins and way of life, and are converted into our new way of life in Christ, others also see the difference and hopefully will be converted to the truth; for they knew us formerly and see the difference.
The prophet Isaiah spoke 700 years before the Pentecost of Acts 2; yet he spoke of our foolishness and the effect it has upon God and God's judgment and grace, and how the way of redemption involves the entire Trinity.
Note Isaiah's words in 63:7-14:
7. I shall make mention of the lovingkindnesses of the Lord, the praises of the Lord,
According to all that the Lord has granted us,
And the great goodness toward the house of Israel,
Which He has granted them according to His compassion,
And according to the multitude of His lovingkindnesses.
8. For He said, “Surely, they are My people,
Sons who will not deal falsely.”
So He became their Savior.
9. In all their affliction, He was afflicted,
And the angel of His presence saved them;
In His love and in His mercy He redeemed them;
And He lifted them and carried them all the days of old.
Can you see the presence of the whole Trinity in this message of grace?
Though it's much easier to see the Father and the Son here, than it is to see the Holy Spirit; nevertheless, He is there, too.
Note verse 10:
10. But they rebelled
And grieved His Holy Spirit;
Therefore, He turned Himself to become their enemy,
He fought against them.
The Holy Spirit is God's witness to us; to convict us of our errors, and to strengthen us to go forth with a new heart that is set upon God.
And it hurts the Lord very much when we turn away from Him and refuse to acknowledge His presence in our lives.
It hurts God in just the same way a loving parent is hurt when their child rebels against them.
So, in order to protect those who listen, and to bring to repentance those who don't, the Holy Spirit must fight against our sins and those who hold on to them.
11. Then His people remembered the days of old, of Moses.
Where is He who brought them up out of the sea with the shepherds of His flock?
Where is He who put His Holy Spirit in the midst of them,
12. Who caused His glorious arm to go at the right hand of Moses,
Who divided the waters before them to make for Himself an everlasting name,
13. Who led them through the depths?
Like the horse in the wilderness, they did not stumble;
14. As the cattle which go down into the valley,
The Spirit of the Lord gave them rest.
So didst Thou lead Thy people,
To make for Thyself a glorious name.
God does all of these things because He loves us and cares for us.
And as long as we acknowledge His presence, and do our best to follow His direction, He will lead us through the difficult times in our lives.
But when a church, or community, or nation turns away from following the Lord our God, and grieves the Holy Spirit, then we, too, will say, "Where is the God who did all of these former miracles? Where is He now, so that we might see the same things, and be healed?"
But He won't be there, so that we will be able to perceive Him.
But if we are followers of God, even in a Godless society, as was Joseph when his brothers sold him into slavery in Egypt, the Holy Spirit will strengthen us and even exalt us, as a witness to others; to let them know that there is a living God in the land.
Turn with me to Genesis 41:25 and following; and note how the power of the Holy Spirit is upon Joseph in his interpretation of Pharaoh's dreams, and in his advice to him, and how the same Spirit convicts Pharaoh.
25. Now Joseph said to Pharaoh, “Pharaoh's dreams are one and the same; God has told to Pharaoh what He is about to do.
Do you see how Joseph begins with giving the glory to God, and at the same time, letting Pharaoh understand that he is not interpreting his dreams by any power of his own?
26. “The seven good cows are seven years; and the seven good ears [of corn] are seven years; the dreams are one and the same.
27. “And the seven lean and ugly cows that came up after them are seven years, and the seven thin ears scorched by the east wind shall be seven years of famine.
28. “It is as I have spoken to Pharaoh: God has shown to Pharaoh what He is about to do.
29. “Behold, seven years of great abundance are coming in all the land of Egypt;
30. and after them seven years of famine will come, and all the abundance will be forgotten in the land of Egypt; and the famine will ravage the land.
31. “So the abundance will be unknown in the land because of the subsequent famine; for it will be very severe.
God is trying to attract the Egyptians’ attention, so that they would turn from their idols and come to Him.
32. “Now as for the repeating of the dream to Pharaoh twice, it means that the matter is determined by God, and God will quickly bring it about.
But the Holy Spirit isn't finished with just an interpretation of Pharaoh's dreams; He is going to give instructions on how to live through the famine.
The Holy Spirit is also pointing Pharaoh in Joseph's direction, so that he would rely upon him and the advice the Lord gives through him.
And the Lord will do the same with and through us, when we let Him.
33. “And now let Pharaoh look for a man discerning and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt.
34. “Let Pharaoh take action to appoint overseers in charge of the land, and let him exact a fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt in the seven years of abundance.
35. “Then let them gather all the food of these good years that are coming, and store up the grain for food in the cities under Pharaoh’s authority, and let them guard it.
36. “And let the food become as a reserve for the land for the seven years of famine which will occur in the land of Egypt, so that the land may not perish during the famine.”
Most people would not help a country in which they were a slave; but Joseph sees through such things, as can any person who is filled with the Holy Spirit.
37. Now the proposal seemed good to Pharaoh and to all his servants.
38. Then Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find a man like this, in whom is a divine spirit?”
39. So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has informed you of all this, there is no one so discerning and wise as you are.
40. “You shall be over my house, and according to your command all my people shall do homage; only in the throne I will be greater then you.”
41. And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See I have set you over all the land of Egypt.”
Any one of us, gathered here today, can be used as Joseph was used to witness for the Lord.
Any one of us can discern the things that Isaiah did.
And any one of us can tell when we grieve the Holy Spirit, as David did, and can make amends for our action, as he did.
The Holy Spirit has been around for all eternity, and He will continue.
We just need to listen to Him more than we do.
We need to be a witness before others of the presence of the Holy Spirit
And everything will be a whole lot better.
Your Comments are welcome
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